Conductor sentenced over child sex offences

EPA Jan Latham-Koenig EPA

Jan Latham-Koenig previously pleaded guilty to child sex offences

A world-renowned classical music conductor who pleaded guilty to a number child sex offences has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jan Latham-Koenig, of Belsize Park, north-west London, admitted arranging sex acts with someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy – but in fact was an undercover police officer.

Southwark Crown Court heard the 70-year-old was arrested at Victoria station after giving the person he thought was called Jacob a ticket so they could meet.

The conductor, who previously admitted three charges, was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Latham-Koenig, who has previously conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and all the BBC ensembles, had used a dating app to make contact with a person he thought was 14 years old.

Describing the case, Judge Alexander Milne said Latham-Koenig had “entered conversations on a dating app, accepted to be frequently used by bisexual and homosexual men, to strike up conversations with a person whom he believed was Jacob”.

He said the conversations were of a sexual nature on a number of occasions and the defendant had sent Jacob an inappropriate photograph.

‘Deeply worrying’

The judge said Latham-Koenig was “particularly concerned” that Jacob’s mother should not know about the relationship and “there was discussion of them going further than merely talking” ahead of meeting.

The 70-year-old also lied about his age, telling Jacob he was aged 49, the court was told.

Judge Milne said the conductor’s behaviour had been “deeply worrying” and he had been “humiliated in the public eye”, but added that “there is clear remorse on the part of the defendant and that he has suffered”.

He sentenced Latham-Koenig to 14 months each for attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and also arranging or facilitating the commission of a sexual offence with a child between 9 December 2023 and 11 January this year.

The conductor was also given 10 months’ imprisonment for engaging in sexual communication with a child, with all sentences to run concurrently.

Defending Latham-Koenig, who was appointed an OBE in 2020 for services to music and UK-Russian cultural relations, Eleanor Laws said the case has had a “devastating effect” on her client, who had suffered “a loss of his career”.

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